Scott Wants to Spend More to Bring Vermonters Back to the Workforce and Attract Workers from Other States
During his annual budget address on Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott proposed taking advantage of federal money pouring into Vermont to encourage more people to move into the state and to train Vermonters to fill thousands of vacant jobs.
“We all see the ‘now hiring’ signs, reduced hours at local businesses and shortages in health care and public safety,” Scott told a joint session of the Legislature.
Among Scott’s proposals were spending $8.5 million over four years to recruit workers to move to Vermont.
Increasing the number of people in the workforce is the primary concern of Vermont businesses, Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, told VTDigger. She said looking outside the state is the solution, because “there’s just not enough people in Vermont to fill the jobs that we have.”
She said the cost of housing is one of the main obstacles to persuading people to move to Vermont. People are willing to move to Vermont “to take jobs or even take their own remote jobs with them, but they cannot find enough houses in Vermont,” she said.
The governor proposed using $15 million from the federal American Rescue Plan to encourage construction of homes for middle-income Vermonters, $25 million for grants to landlords to fix rundown and vacant housing, and $105 million to construct mixed-income housing.
He also proposed increasing tax credits by $5 million a year to encourage development in downtown areas and villages.
Beyond housing, Scott said he supports adding police officers, nurse practitioners, electricians and other occupations with an acute shortage of workers to the list of jobs that transplants can take when they are reimbursed for moving to Vermont.
Meanwhile, Sen. Michael Sirotkin, D-Chittenden, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, said his committee is considering getting rid of the list altogether, letting demand determine which jobs people fill
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